Man charged in January sword slaying found competent to stand trial

Published 9:32 am Wednesday, July 13, 2016

Jacob Buckles

An Elizabethton man charged with murder in connection with a January stabbing death has been found competent to stand trial following a mental health evaluation.
Jacob Lee Buckles, 28, of 1005 Fairview St., Elizabethton, was arrested Jan. 7 and charged with second-degree murder.
During a January appearance in Carter County General Sessions Court, Buckles’ court-appointed attorney Chad Cash requested a mental health evaluation be conducted on his client. At a March court appearance, Cash reported to the court that an issue had arisen with the paperwork regarding the mental health evaluation and Judge Keith Bowers Jr. issued a court order for the evaluation to be performed by Frontier Health. Under the terms of the court order, Buckles was to be evaluated for his competency to stand trial, his mental condition at the time of the alleged crime, his need for mental health treatment, whether or not he suffers from a diminished mental capacity and to test his IQ.
On Monday the results of that evaluation were filed with the court.
“After completion of the competency evaluation, we have concluded that Jacob Lee Buckles has sufficient present ability to consult with his lawyer and a reasonable degree of rational understanding and a rational as well as factual understanding of the proceedings against him. At this time, Mr. Buckles does not require follow-up services to maintain his competency to stand trial,” said a letter from Assessment and Forensic Services of Frontier Health which was signed by Licensed Sr. Psychological Examiner Jorge F. Fuchs, M.A., and Licensed Clinical Psychologist Diane L. Whitehead, Ph.D.
In the letter detailing the findings of the evaluation, Whitehead said it is her opinion that at the time of the alleged offense “Buckles was not suffering from a severe mental disease or defect which prevented him from appreciating the nature or wrongfulness of such acts.”
Whitehead also offered the opinion that there was no support for an argument of diminished capacity and that Buckles “did not lack the capacity to act with intent.”
The results of the evaluation did lead to Fuchs and Whitehead recommending treatment to address depression, anxiety and substance abuse issues.
In the report, the evaluators reported that Buckles had average intellectual function.
“Therefore we recommend that this individual be placed before the court for further disposition of his case,” the letter concluded.
Buckles is currently scheduled to return to General Sessions Court on July 18 for a status update on the case regarding the results of his mental health evaluation. He has been held at the Carter County Detention Center since his arrest on Jan. 7. His bond is currently set at $250,000.
The charges against Buckles stem from an incident on Jan. 7 after officers of the Carter County Sheriff’s Office responded to a report of a stabbing at 124 Edgewater Road in the Valley Forge community. When officers arrived, they found 29-year-old Jeffery “Colt” Calloway lying on the floor just inside the front door of the home with what appeared to be one stab wound to his chest. Calloway was transported to Sycamore Shoals Hospital where he died shortly after his arrival.
“Polly Calloway, Colt’s wife, reported that Jacob Buckles and Roger Morrison came to the home to collect a debt and an argument ensued,” Carter County Sheriff Dexter Lunceford said at the time of Buckles’ arrest. “Polly reported that Jacob stabbed Colt in the chest with a sword.”
The woman told officers after Buckles stabbed her husband he and Morrison left and she thought they were headed to a home on Fairview Street in the Eastside community. Officers of the Elizabethton Police Department later located Buckles and Morrison at Buckles’ home at 1005 Fairview St. and took the two men into custody.
Buckles and Morrison were transported to the Carter County Sheriff’s Office where they were interviewed about the incident. According to police, Buckles admitted to stabbing Jeffery Calloway.
Police also charged Roger Dale Morrison, 29, of 136 Jack Bradley Road, Elizabethton, with being an accessory after the fact to second-degree murder in connection with Calloway’s death.
In January, Morrison waived his right to a preliminary hearing and had his charge bound over to a grand jury, which indicted him in March on a charge of being an accessory after the fact to second-degree murder.
At Morrison’s initial appearance in Criminal Court on March 28, Judge Stacy Street denied Morrison’s request for a court-appointed attorney and scheduled him to return to Criminal Court on August 1 to allow him time to hire an attorney.

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